updated 7/27/2004 9:41:15 AM ET 2004-07-27T13:41:15

Guest: Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Gov. Bill Richardson, Chad Chitwood, Michael Moore, Ron Gettelfinger, Wesley Clark, Kweisi Mfume

GRANHOLM:  We need a change at the top, Chris.  We‘re in the wrong direction.  We‘re in the cellar of international esteem as a country.  We need to bring people together.  We need, inside the country and out, for our self-esteem and our international...

MATTHEWS:  Were you—were you...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Were you pumped up to see John Kerry walking around with a broken shotgun the other day, carrying it just right?  Was that aimed at the John Dingells of this world, the hunters of Michigan?  It was such a pander laid down, wasn‘t it?

GRANHOLM:  Well, he‘s a hunter.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s walking around with a shotgun, knowing just how to carry it!  That was aimed at Michigan, wasn‘t it?

GRANHOLM:  You know, he‘s a hunter.  He‘s an outdoorsman.  He was...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  What happened to the party of gun control?

GRANHOLM:  I don‘t know that the Democratic Party has been the party of gun control.  I think we have been a party that is interested in safety and interested in reasonable use of guns and regulation of guns—reasonable.

MATTHEWS:  Have you read your platform?  It‘s a hoot!

GRANHOLM:  I—it‘s a...

MATTHEWS:  Your party platform, which was just approved, said we‘re not going to depend on Middle East oil anymore, but we‘re not going to drill for any oil and we‘re not going to go to Alaska for oil.  And my only question is—there‘s a lot of cars being produced in Michigan.  What are they going to run on?

GRANHOLM:  We are obviously...

MATTHEWS:  Notice how everybody gets quiet here!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I see how you all get quiet!  Because you‘re all curious!~  You‘re all curious!

GRANHOLM:  We‘re going to build the cars of the future, too.  We do...

MATTHEWS:  Well, what are they going to run on, onions?

GRANHOLM:  Wait, wait, wait, wait.

MATTHEWS:  What are they going to run on?

GRANHOLM:  Well, they might run on ethanol.  That might be one of the things—

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... to what, 30, 40 years from now?

GRANHOLM:  No, not at all.  They want to do it on a much quicker timeframe.  We have invested a great deal of research and development in the hydrogen fuel cell, which is going to be an important next generation of vehicle, the hybrid vehicles, very important for the next generation.  So we—we are very excited about alternative energies and using that to further the sales of autos and creation of auto jobs.

MATTHEWS:  What—what do you put in the fuel tank of your car?

GRANHOLM:  Gas.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  You get the gas primarily from the Middle East. 

What‘s going to change in the—I‘m reading the Democratic platform.  I sometimes think I‘m the only one that‘s read it.  We‘re going to end our reliance on Mideast oil.  It sounds like a—I‘d love it.  Who wouldn‘t love it, as an American, not to have to worry about that part of the world so much.  But when is—it‘s 2004 right now.  Give me an estimate of what year we‘ll be able to drive cars that don‘t need gas from the Middle East?

GRANHOLM:  Well, I don‘t know the time.

MATTHEWS:  Fifty years from now?

GRANHOLM:  No, less than that, I think.  I mean, we really want to move toward that and move toward it quickly.  You know, you‘re suggesting that Americans‘ imagination is limited.  We have the smartest country in the entire world.  We have often surmounted obstacles and gotten to that next frontier.  For us, the next frontier, perhaps, is lifting the lid up and imagining what the next generation of vehicles, the next generation of energy could be.  Jeremy Rifkin wrote a book called...

MATTHEWS:  Right.

GRANHOLM:  ... “The Hydrogen Economy.”  It‘s—that‘s—the vehicle of the future...

MATTHEWS:  Can I ask you a personal question.

GRANHOLM:  ... is going to be built in Michigan.

MATTHEWS:  Can I ask you a personal question?

GRANHOLM:  Yes?

MATTHEWS:  Did you ever find yourself...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I mean, these are all partisan people out here, but let me ask you this.  Did you ever find yourself watching the president of the United States, George W. Bush, during the last four years, saying, Right on.  Three cheers.  You‘re doing just the right job.  Did you ever feel that?

GRANHOLM:  Never.

MATTHEWS:  Did you ever feel it a moment?

GRANHOLM:  Actually...

MATTHEWS:  You know, he‘s the kind of leader we need right now?  Ever? 

You never liked him?

GRANHOLM:  I liked the speech he gave at his inauguration.  I think he did a great speech at his inauguration.

MATTHEWS:  But?

GRANHOLM:  I think it‘s gone downhill from there.

MATTHEWS:  You‘re great.  We‘re going to—stay with us.  We‘re going to right now to Andrea Mitchell—by the way, we have to say good-bye.  Thank you.

GRANHOLM:  Thank you very much.

MATTHEWS:  Jennifer Granholm...

GRANHOLM:  It‘s a pleasure to be here.

MATTHEWS:  ... former (UNINTELLIGIBLE) “Harvard Law Review,” “Dating Game.”  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about everything.  She‘s a star!

GRANHOLM:  You‘ve done your homework.

MATTHEWS:  I‘ve read your bio.

Let‘s go right now to Andrea Mitchell, who‘s on the floor of the convention.  There she is.  Andrea Mitchell.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Chris.  Thank you.  I‘m here with the chairman of the Democratic convention, who is the governor of New Mexico, former energy secretary, former U.N.  ambassador, lots of titles, Bill Richardson.

How much control is the party asserting on these speeches tonight? 

Why is the message so boiled down and lacking in real attack lines?

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D-NM), CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION: 

Well, we want it to be a positive convention.  You heard President Bush‘s name very little at the start.  We want the American people, most expressly the 10 percent, 15 percent that are undecided to see Democrats having solutions, having economic growth plans, having a national security plan.  But this really is a convention that is building up, day one, two and three, to day four, when Senator Kerry speaks.  And today we‘re highlighting some of the accomplishments, our stars, the Clintons, Gore, President Carter, to build up to Senator Kerry, who‘s the main star.  And we‘re trying to get the message that he‘s a good guy, he‘s a Vietnam veteran, he knows foreign policy, he‘s experienced, he‘s ready to take over.

MITCHELL:  Message received.  That‘s the commercial.  But what about those ideologues in the party who want, you know, some more sort of attack lines, who want to hear more of an attack against George W. Bush?

RICHARDSON:  Well, what you‘re going to see is a very united party.  There are delegates that are more liberal than the nominee, than many of us, but every...

MITCHELL:  But the polling shows that most of the people here, at least 35 percent, don‘t agree with Kerry on a lot of issues, on the war, on abortion on some of his more centrist positions.

RICHARDSON:  But Democrats are so thirsty for a victory, and they want to replace President Bush so much that they will unify, they will lessen their expectations on the platform.  And this calls for a unified party.  Maybe a convention that doesn‘t have much controversy and not a lot of fun for the press, but our message is for undecideds and also to energize these delegates here, that are the ones that get the votes for the party, the ones that go out and make phone calls and raise the funds and mobilize.  So we have a dual purpose: appeal to the undecideds with a positive message, but also galvanize with some strong stem-winders that you will see the party faithful that is so important in getting our base voters out.

MITCHELL:  Chris has a question for you, Governor—Chris.

MATTHEWS:  I was just wondering, Governor Richardson, if “shove it” is going to be the spirit of the new U.S. diplomacy if the Kerrys take over?

MITCHELL:  You better—Chris, repeat that one more time.  He doesn‘t...

MATTHEWS:  Do you think that “shove it” is diplomatic language for the future?

MITCHELL:  Give it to me one more time, Chris?

MATTHEWS:  I‘m beginning to sound awful here!  Does he agree with Mrs.

Kerry‘s language in reporting—in talking to that Pittsburgh reporter?

MITCHELL:  Sorry.  The question is, do you agree with Teresa Heinz Kerry‘s language, telling the Pittsburgh reporter from, you know, admittedly a right-wing news organization to “shove it”?  Is that diplomatic?  Is that softer, kinder, gentler?

RICHARDSON:  That‘s OK.  That shows she‘s a real person.  You know, there‘s so much tension in these campaigns.  I think that‘s fine.  That‘s not even a swear word.  So you know, it‘s releasing tension.  She‘s a strong woman.  She has character.  She has commitment.  You know, I think, once in a while, us politicians must be given a little break once in a while, and I think what she said was her feelings.  It wasn‘t a swear word.  It was colorful.  That‘s OK.

MITCHELL:  Thank you very much, Governor Richardson.

So I guess the toughest that we‘re going to hear in this Democratic Party is “shove it.”  Now we‘ll shove it over to Carl Quintanilla, also on the floor—Carl.

CARL QUINTANILLA, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Andrea, we‘re not far away from you, all of these battleground states very much laid out towards the front of the stage.  One of those states, obviously, is Missouri, which is virtually a dead heat right now.  Chad Chitwood is a first-time delegate.  Chad, is there any frustration that the economy, especially in Missouri, has been so weak, and yet Kerry hasn‘t seemed to get more mileage out of the polls?

CHAD CHITWOOD, MISSOURI DELEGATE:  Well, you know, the economy in Missouri has been better than in other places.  The governor‘s done a good job with that, and the state, as a whole, has worked really hard on it.  But yes, it‘s frustrating that this economy has kept falling, and yet we go farther into deficit and never get anywhere with it.

QUINTANILLA:  Congressman Dick Gephardt, passed over for the VP job—any resentment over that?  And do you think he‘s going to have a role in the Kerry administration?  There‘s been some speculation that he might be some kind of secretary of labor, perhaps, chief of staff, that kind of thing.

CHITWOOD:  Yes.  Absolutely not.  There‘s no animosity.  You know, Kerry won the battle.  He got to make his pick.  That‘s his guy.  We‘re behind him 100 percent.  And he‘s absolutely going to have a role.  I mean, he‘s been around.  He‘s been a good guy for labor and he‘s been a good guy in Congress, and he‘s going to—he‘s going to have a role.

QUINTANILLA:  And when you talk to the delegates here, there‘s been so much talk this week about trying to tone down or tamper down the Bush bashing.  Does the craving for some kind of diplomacy this week outweigh the anger that a lot of Democrats have?  Do you want to see some of the fists fly?

CHITWOOD:  I don‘t.  I mean, I think John Edwards really pushed the—the feeling of talking about the issues, keep the issues out front and keeping a good campaign going, and I think that‘s why he‘s on the ticket.  I mean, I think people respond to that message and keeping things positive and talking about the future, as opposed to the past.

QUINTANILLA:  Chad, I know you‘re still making your way, getting to know the Fleet Center as a first-time delegate.

Missouri, obviously, Chris, is going to be watched very closely.  As you know, they voted for the winner every election since 1956 -- Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Carl Quintanilla, down on the floor of the convention.

Let‘s go right now to David Gregory, White House correspondent for NBC.  Let‘s go right now.  He‘s got an interview with Bill Clinton.  So we‘re going right now to Tom Brokaw‘s interview with former president Bill Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BROKAW, NBC ANCHOR:  You have to worry about the tone of the language of some of the supporters going after George Bush?

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The most important thing is that he not do—fall into that.

BROKAW:  It‘s OK for them to do it?

CLINTON:  Well, I don‘t think—there‘s nothing we can do about it. 

The bitterness is, I think, also really rooted in the reaction to the 2002 elections, where every Democrat who didn‘t support the Homeland Security bill just as it was written was treated as an ally of Saddam Hussein.

BROKAW:  Do you worry that you‘ll become a lightning rod again if you stand up beside John Kerry, there will be Republicans out there saying, Here‘s a guy who lied to his family, lied under oath, lied to the country, and he‘s back again?  Or do you think the book has put that away?

CLINTON:  I don‘t know what the book did.  The book, I think, is what it is.  It‘s the story of my life.  But I—What I think about that is when I left office, about two thirds of the American people thought I‘d been a good president.  And they thought I was pulling for them.  They thought I‘d made a bad mistake and paid for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re going right now to David Gregory.  He‘s out—he covers the president for NBC News, and he‘s out in Los Angeles.  We‘re going to get to him right after the break.  Right now, we‘re going to go right now to a break.  We‘ll be right back with an interview with David Gregory on what President Bush thinks about (UNINTELLIGIBLE) .

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back.  As the Democrats convene here in Boston, President Bush is on his ranch in Crawford, Texas.  NBC White House correspondent David Gregory joins us now from Los Angeles.

David, what is the word from the White House?  Are they loving this thing of Bill Clinton coming back, or what?

(LAUGHTER)

DAVID GREGORY, NBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Well, I think their major focus here is on whether John Kerry can actually punch through.  I mean, they‘re counting on the fact that they‘ve been able to define, in their view, John Kerry as somebody who‘s a flip-flopper.  They think that there‘s a great deal of—really, a burden on him to overcome, to try to connect with the American people.  And I think they‘re trying to set expectations at an unreasonably high level, to say if John Kerry can‘t come out of this convention with a big enough bounce, then he wasn‘t a success, and then we‘re off and running.

MATTHEWS:  Right.

GREGORY:  So they‘re all about setting these expectation games. 

That‘s what they‘re trying to lay down.

MATTHEWS:  Well, of course, it‘s hard to get a big bounce when, like, 90 percent of the American people have already made up their mind.  As Peter Hart said a few moments ago, or actually said this morning—he said that this is a concrete trampoline—a concrete trampoline they‘re jumping on, it doesn‘t bounce too high.  But let me ask you about the theater, the show business of this convention.  The Democratic Party is making every effort to show the party as a middle-of-the-road moderate party.  They‘re trying to keep the crazy people off camera, people that sort of think and act generally like Michael Moore.  They‘re trying to kill that left wing.  The president‘s people are putting out the word all over the place that this is a makeover, a cosmetic surgery of the Democratic Party.  Is that the way you see it?  I see it as cosmetic surgery as a charge, and the Democrats actually practicing some of that cosmetic theater here.

GREGORY:  Well, there‘s no question that what you‘re going to see more of, and what you‘ve already seen some of from the president—I‘ve been traveling with him for the past week or so on the campaign trail, and he makes a big point about John Kerry and John Edwards being the lawyer ticket, also making the case that, you know, John Kerry‘s idea of balancing the ticket was by putting someone who is the fourth most liberal member of the Senate to be his running mate.  So they‘ve got a kind of narrative about these two candidates, but primarily about Kerry being the Northeastern Massachusetts liberal, that he‘s going to run with.

And it‘s—you know, it‘s a simple theme.  You know, the president told people early on that, you know, there‘s something about Massachusetts liberal that has a ring to it, and that‘s very much what he wants to go with.  And I think—tell you something else, Chris, that‘s important.  The vice president is on the West Coast this week, even as the campaign—rather, even as the convention is going on.  And listening to him today in Washington state, he was making a big case, quoting the 9/11 report, talking about how al Qaeda remains a persistent threat to the United States, that it is just as determined as the Axis powers were in World War II to defeat the United States.

This ticket is going to make the case every day that America is under threat of attack and that, essentially, it‘s too dangerous to change teams right now.  That‘s the advantage that they want to ride through to the rest of the election.  And even John Kerry in his recent interviews has acknowledged that that‘s what he‘s got to do, is convince people that he‘s right there with George Bush, that he can keep America just as safe.

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me ask you about the war.  John Kerry, from everything we‘ve heard, is going to be very biographical, autobiographical this week.  And I think that people like former president Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, the former president, Jimmy Carter, and the former vice president, Al Gore, have all have been told, Your message tonight is the strength of this man‘s resume.  This man fought in wars.  He opposed a war when it came time, and that was his view.  He was always a man who was there on the spot.  How does the White House counter John Kerry, Lieutenant John Kerry, the captain of the swift boat?

GREGORY:  Well, I don‘t think that they try to necessarily rebut his national security credentials because he‘s got them.  Not only is he a veteran, not only has he, you know, taken shots under fire, but he‘s also served in the Senate.  He is certainly more experienced, if you look at it on paper, than George W. Bush was as the former governor of Texas.

What I think they try to do is say, What would John Kerry really do?  Is he a kind of a soulless politician who just is going to tell you what you want to hear?  You know where George W. Bush stands.  And to be frank about it, a lot of people in this country don‘t like what he—where he stands or what he‘s done when it comes to the war on terror or the war in Iraq.  But I think the argument they‘re going to try to make is, You don‘t know what John Kerry would do, ultimately, in a situation with American security on the line.  You know he‘ll protect America, but would he do what you really have to do to keep America safe?  I think that‘s the argument you‘re going to hear from the Bush-Cheney folks, from the president and the vice president themselves.

The down side, of course, as you know, Chris, is that there‘s also a record that John Kerry can run against when it comes to this president and vice presidential ticket about what they‘ve done in Iraq that‘s been very controversial and that has not panned out the way they said it would.

MATTHEWS:  Why did the president go to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, which has been an emblematic situation?  A lot of people don‘t like the fact of him on vacation again.  Why‘d he do that this week and sort of emblemize that part of his problem?

GREGORY:  You know, I think he‘s taken some heat for going out to the ranch a good deal, but at the same time, there‘s also a good deal of symbolism about the president on his ranch.  I spoke to a White House adviser this week who said, yes, you probably won‘t see the president.  You know, he‘s typically down during the other party‘s convention.  But I wouldn‘t be surprised if he comes out to the local coffee station, where he gets a barbecued sandwich or a hamburger, and says, Oh, yes, must be big homecoming for the senator back there in Boston.

I mean, there‘s a contrast here, where the White House would love nothing better than two images side by side, the president in a cowboy hat and a chainsaw, clearing brush from his ranch, and John Kerry kite-surfing in Nantucket Bay.  These are two images, and even though you could say that George W. Bush comes from a similarly patrician background, as a political matter, he‘s made that transformation.  And these kinds of images, I think, are going to be important down the stretch.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s great hearing from you.  David Gregory, White House correspondent for NBC.  Thanks.

And then we‘re going to be back right now with our panel and more of Ron Reagan‘s interview with “Fahrenheit 9/11” filmmaker Michael Moore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RON REAGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, speaking of guys who look a little grim, we‘ve just happened upon some of your cast members here.

(LAUGHTER)

MICHAEL MOORE, “FAHRENHEIT 9/11” DIRECTOR:  I know!  You‘ve got my whole cast!

REAGAN:  The whole bunch here.

MOORE:  We‘ve got—you know, we‘re running Oscar campaigns, actually, for these two guys for Best Supporting Actor.  We‘ve got Best Actor down there.

REAGAN:  Yes.

MOORE:  He‘s got the funniest lines in the film.

REAGAN:  It‘s true.

MOORE:  Mr. Bush.

REAGAN:  Yes.

MOORE:  But this gay right here—Best Original Song.

(LAUGHTER)

MOORE:  He writes and sings his own song in the movie...

REAGAN:  “Let the Eagles Soar.”

MOORE:  ... “Let the Eagles Soar.”

REAGAN:  Yes.

MOORE:  And he‘s got a good voice.

REAGAN:  Well, it‘s pretty good.  He was a little flat in places, but...

MOORE:  Oh!

REAGAN:  Well, you know, hey, not that I...

MOORE:  Don‘t be so harsh here!

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  No, no.  He‘s an amateur.  Let‘s be fair.  Yes.

MOORE:  The man is attorney general and a lounge singer.

REAGAN:  Now, let me ask you...

MOORE:  Yes?

REAGAN:  ... with Vice President Cheney here, in all the footage that you—you screened of him, and I‘m sure you‘ve screened plenty...

MOORE:  Yes.

REAGAN:  ... did you ever see him actually use the other side of his mouth?

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN:  Did he—because I‘ve never actually—it‘s usually the left...

MOORE:  Yes.

REAGAN:  ... the left side.

MOORE:  I think—I think whatever the machine is that runs him only works on this side.  I think that‘s basically the problem there.  But we wish him well.  We don‘t want anything bad to happen to him there.

REAGAN:  No.  Of course not.

MOORE:  You know?  And seems like a decent guy.  And you know, he‘s got a gay daughter.  So hey, that‘s good.

REAGAN:  Yes.

MOORE:  You know?

REAGAN:  Yes.

MOORE:  You got to give him credit for that, raising a lesbian.  I mean, I‘ve never raised a lesbian.  I‘d love to raise a lesbian.  And so God bless him for that.  And...

REAGAN:  We got Rummy down here.

MOORE:  Now, Rummy here—I don‘t know what to do with him.

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN:  Mr. trenchcoat.

MOORE:  Mr. Trenchcoat here.  His—my favorite part in the film with him is where he talks about the precision bombing.  And of course, sadly, “The New York Times” a few weeks ago, front-page story of the first 50 air strikes to try and get the Iraqi leadership, we were zero for 50...

REAGAN:  Yes.

MOORE:  ... on the bombing runs.  And so, unfortunately, we killed a lot of civilians.  But he doesn‘t look too upset.

REAGAN:  And then, of course, we‘ve got...

MOORE:  Oh, here we go.

REAGAN:  ... the big fellow now..

MOORE:  Yes.

REAGAN:  If he were actually here...

MOORE:  Yes.

REAGAN:  ... and not just a cardboard cutout, what do you think he would say to you?

MOORE:  Well, geez, I hope he‘d invite me over for some cornbread and some barbecue and, you know...

REAGAN:  Down at Crawford?

MOORE:  Down—I‘m going down there...

REAGAN:  Oh, yes.

MOORE:  ... on Wednesday.

REAGAN:  Yes?

MOORE:  We‘re going to have the big Crawford premiere of the movie...

REAGAN:  Oh!

MOORE:  ... on Wednesday, and he‘s back there on vacation again.  He loves to go there, you know.

REAGAN:  Yes, I know.

MOORE:  He spent about 42 percent of his time on vacation in the first eight months of the presidency.  And so I‘m going to go down there on Wednesday, and I‘ll have a front row seat for him.  I‘d love for him to see the movie.

REAGAN:  Yes.  Do you think he has, you know, a secret screening maybe in the White House that he‘s seen this?

MOORE:  No way.  No, they don‘t do that sort of thing, do they?

REAGAN:  No, no.

MOORE:  Well, you do know something about that, don‘t you.

REAGAN:  Yes.  I don‘t think they were secret screenings.  We saw “Gandhi.”

MOORE:  You did?

REAGAN:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) “Gandhi” (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

MOORE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Your dad watched “Gandhi.”

REAGAN:  Yes.

MOORE:  OK?  I mean, right there, he had an open mind.  I‘m just asking for the same thing from this man.

REAGAN:  Yes.  What—if—what would you like to say to him, if he were right here?  Do you think you‘d—anything, any word of wisdom?

MOORE:  You know, you know—honestly, I‘ve always felt kind of sorry for him.  I‘ve never felt that he really wanted this job, or any job, frankly.

(LAUGHTER)

MOORE:  But—you know?  And the slacker in me appreciates that.  And I think, honestly, secretly, he can‘t wait until November 3, the day after the election, where he can go back to living that life that he had.  And I‘m all for that.  And you know, just—as I show in the movie, there are good parts to him.  He‘s very good to his dogs, very good to his dogs.

REAGAN:  Yes.  Yes.

MOORE:  And...

REAGAN:  Scotty (ph).

MOORE:  Yes.  And the one, Barney...

REAGAN:  Barney.

MOORE:  ... that just died.

REAGAN:  Passed away.  Rest in peace.

MOORE:  But he‘s very—he‘s a good man to his dogs.  And he seems to have raised two very lovely daughters.  And you know, we wish him well after November.

REAGAN:  OK.  Yes.  Will this change Hollywood‘s way of doing business at all?  I mean, $100 million gets some people‘s attention in Hollywood.  Do you think that we‘re going to see a spate of political documentaries coming out, everybody thinking, Hey, the money‘s in the political documentaries?

MOORE:  Yes, you can hear all the Hollywood meetings this morning, right?  OK, somebody go get me a political documentary!

(LAUGHTER)

MOORE:  You know, that can only be a good thing.  I would love to see more non-fiction films have a chance.  “Super Size Me,” great film, “Control Room,” there‘s another film called “The Corporation.”  There‘s really great documentaries out there right now.

REAGAN:  You mentioned the sort of fiction and nonfiction...

MOORE:  Yes.

REAGAN:  ... this blurring of news and entertainment and—you know.  I mean, now we‘re in a situation where you‘ve got late-night comedians—well, Jon Stewart, for instance...

MOORE:  Very popular.

REAGAN:  Yes.

MOORE:  Yes.

REAGAN:  ... actually breaking news and, you know, busting some people.

MOORE:  Great.

REAGAN:  I mean, it was—it was he that came up with the clip of Dick Cheney tying Saddam Hussein to 9/11.  You know, nobody on “Meet the Press” did that.  Any thoughts about this, this kind of smudging of the line?

MOORE:  I don‘t see it so much as a smudging as a necessary response because the mainstream media at 6:30 every night hasn‘t done their job.  And so therefore, others have had to step in.  And you will see things on Jon Stewart‘s show you will not see on the evening news.  I think people are looking now toward other avenues.  This is a good thing.  It‘s not a bad thing.  The smudging and the blurring between fiction and nonfiction that takes place, takes place with them.  They‘re the ones who are trying to package wars and tell things to the public that aren‘t true and then try to sell it.  It‘s no mistake when they hire a Hollywood set designer to build the set in Qatar from the Central Command to make it all look really cool and entertaining.  And that‘s where the problem is, not with people who do nonfiction.

REAGAN:  Yes.  War the new entertainment?

MOORE:  Yes, well, not so entertaining...

REAGAN:  Yes.

MOORE:  ... for the parents of those 900 who are dead.  And all of us, as Americans, have a responsibility to answer to those parents.  What did their children die for?  What did they die for?  And they have to answer for that.  And I think they will answer for it come November 2.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Coming up, NBC News‘s Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert from the convention floor, where—from the booth itself, rather, where former vice president Al Gore is scheduled to take the stage at 8:00 o‘clock tonight, followed by former president Jimmy Carter and then by Senator Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton.  All tonight on MSNBC.  Plus, we‘ll talk to former presidential candidate Wesley Clark right here.

You are watching HARDBALL‘s live coverage of the Democratic national convention on MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - 1976)

REP. BARBARA JORDAN (D), TEXAS:  I feel that, notwithstanding the past, that my presence here is one additional bit of evidence that the American dream need not forever be deferred!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  Texas congresswoman Barbara Jordan made a career of breaking barriers, and in 1976, she broke one more, becoming the first woman and the first African-American to give the keynote address to a major party convention.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back.  Welcome back to Boston.

We go right now to Carl Quintanilla, who is down on the floor. 

Carl, who do you got?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

CARL QUINTANILLA, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Chris. 

We are here in Michigan with Ron Gettelfinger, president of the UAW.

Ron, obviously, jobs a huge issue for not just the big three, but Michigan.  Is that the key issue for you while you‘re here this week? 

RON GETTELFINGER, PRESIDENT, UAW:  Well, obviously, creating jobs, the economy, health care, all of these issues, a number of Americans that are living below the poverty line. 

Yes, there‘s a lot of issues, but especially manufacturing jobs.  Since Bush has been in office, we have lost three million.  And, in Michigan, as you know, Electrolux over in Greenville is just one example of jobs that are leaving this country. 

QUINTANILLA:  Thank you very much, Ron Gettelfinger, president of the UAW—Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Carl Quintanilla, who is down on the floor.

Now let‘s go—that was Carl Quintanilla.

Let‘s go right now to Tom Brokaw of NBC News and Tim Russert.  They are standing by at the convention hall—Tom and Tim. 

TOM BROKAW, NBC ANCHOR:  Chris, I was just watching the head of the UAW from Michigan and thinking, one of the dilemmas that the Democrats are going to have when they go to Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan and the other organized labor states is that John Kerry is talking about himself as an internationalist.

And outsourcing of jobs is a very large issue for those countries that get the jobs and for people who are taking a look at global trade and what it means for the economy in terms of money coming back.  So that is going to be one of the many delicate balancing acts, I think, for this campaign, especially as they go into those battleground states in the industrial Midwest, Tim.    

TIM RUSSERT, NBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF:  Tom, he voted for NAFTA.

BROKAW:  Right. 

RUSSERT:  The North American Free Trade Agreement.  And he is now saying he wants some environmental changes and so forth.

But it is the same kind of nuanced position he has on the war:  I voted to authorize the war, but it was handled in a way I would not have done it.  And that‘s not what Democrats like to hear.  They like the black vs. the white.  But that has been banned from this convention.  It is going to be make nice, lay out our case against the president and offer a nuanced position. 

BROKAW:  And, so, Chris, I think that is just one example of what John Kerry is going to have to talk about on Thursday night. 

I had a talk with Bill Clinton.  As you are probably aware, yesterday, we did a long interview with him.  We will hear some more of it tonight before he goes on the air.  And, at the end, I said to him, what does Kerry have to do specifically?  And he said, he has to do just that. 

He said that he had a conversation with John Kerry in which he said to him, if there are a million new jobs between now and Election Day and there are no additional deaths in Iraq and there are no additional terrorist attacks, do you still think that you should be president of the United States?  And Kerry said to Bill Clinton, yes, I do.  And he said, then, you have to tell the American people why you should be president of the United States. 

The rope-a-dope strategy has to come to an end here in Boston this week.  John Kerry has been beneficiary of the difficulties of this president, but now the country is going to look at him in a different way, because there are not just Democrats looking at him.  There are Republicans and independents and swing voters who are out there saying, OK, sell me.  And that is going to make it a whole different equation, Tim.

RUSSERT:  There is anxiety about the economy, anxiety about the Iraq.  But you are exactly right, Tom.  John Kerry has to say, I am a viable alternative. 

BROKAW:  Right. 

RUSSERT:  I can do this job. 

Thirty percent of the American people say they don‘t know enough about him right now.

BROKAW:  And the other part are—it‘s not just—it seems to me, Chris—and I know that we‘ve talked about this a lot.

It is not just where he stands on the issues, but does he connect with the American people as an empathetic figure?  Is he someone that they are comfortable with, that old test about who do you want to have a beer with over the back fence or who do you want to invite over for a barbecue?  That remains a test of the American presidential candidates. 

Is there too much in his demeanor a sense of entitlement?  He has got a great resume.  He‘s highly educated.  Everybody talks about his intelligence.  He was an authentic war hero.  But does he connect with people in a way that they want to feel comfortable with him for the next four years as effectively the head of the American family?

MATTHEWS:  Tom, do you think that Teresa Heinz is manageable in terms of keeping this modest tone, this quiet demeanor of the Democratic Party they are trying for this week? 

BROKAW:  You wouldn‘t be alluding to that incident in Pennsylvania, would you, Chris? 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

BROKAW:  In which she—she ran down the reporter to tell him to shove it. 

(LAUGHTER)

BROKAW:  I‘m not sure. 

I think it is very hard for us to know.  I think that the American

public in a lot of ways, they kind of like that attitude.  If it doesn‘t go

too far, they can understand the exasperation of these candidates.  I don‘t

know, frankly, how the country is going to respond to Teresa Heinz.  She is

a different kind of a presidential candidate‘s wife.  She was born in

another country.  She has an enormous fortune, as you know, at her disposal

·         at her disposal.

She is very outspoken about a lot of issues.  On the other hand, she is very well informed about a lot of issues.  And her foundation does some remarkable work.  And it has among the people vetting those who should receive those grants Republicans as well as Democrats. 

I think that, in politics, like in war, you can‘t fight the last war.  You have to realize that there‘s a whole different attitude out there on the part of American women and people generally about what they want. 

RUSSERT:  And I‘ll tell you, Chris, you are exactly right.  The Bush campaign is going to say, there is a difference between Laura Bush and Teresa Heinz. 

BROKAW:  Right. 

RUSSERT:  And the Democrats are saying, right. 

BROKAW:  Yes. 

RUSSERT:  And so, you are going to hear Teresa Heinz address this convention tomorrow.  She is going to do a series of interviews as well.  We‘re going to find out whether the country is going to buy into it or not.

BROKAW:  Yes. 

The one thing is, I think that, Chris, that she certainly has defied conventional wisdom in the course of the primaries and the caucuses.  You saw her in Iowa and she talked quite movingly as someone who had come to this country from another place and all that she had learned from this process.  I talked to her last night at the Red Sox game, when I was trying to shield my eyes from how the Sox were hammering the Yankees there in the middle of the game.

And she talked really authentically about all she has learned about this country by listening to people and participating in this system in a way that she had never had a chance to before, even though she was married to the late John Heinz, the Republican senator from Pennsylvania. 

MATTHEWS:  Tom and Tim, it seems to me what the Democrats are trying to do here, based upon the briefings so far, is replicate that magic moment in New York City, when the president stood in the rubble of the World Trade Center and convinced a lot of Americans he was the wartime commander we need.  How can you do that at a political convention? 

BROKAW:  Well, you can‘t duplicate that moment or recreate that moment.

That was, in the early days of the Bush presidency, certainly a shining moment for him.  It was one of those times in which the president as a symbol of the country and a symbol of strength, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, he was all that everyone wanted him to be. 

But what they can do here is show that they are not ignoring the terrorist threat.  It has been striking to me how both parties in the last four or five days have suddenly seized the 9/11 report after being, if not dismissive about it, at least lukewarm about going back to work and doing something about it. 

I was talking to Harold Ford earlier today, the Tennessee congressman.  He said, I think we ought to be back next week and maybe even have a special session.  This one has got their attention.  It‘s flying out of the bookstores.  And the country said, look, if you are telling us that there‘s another attack coming, what are you doing about it?

RUSSERT:  Jay Rockefeller, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrat, West Virginia, canceled coming to the convention because of it. 

But, Chris, we are going to hear a lot about John Kerry, the war hero.  We are going to hear a lot about John Kerry, the man who could be the commander in chief because of his hardened experience.  You are exactly right.  Democrats must pass that threshold.  They have to be seen as someone who can lead the war on terror.  If perhaps Iraq was the wrong decision, the public will not give them a pass and say, all right, we want to go back to the old days of a Democratic Party that is perceived as—quote—“weak on defense.”

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you very much, Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert. 

Up next, former presidential candidate General Wesley Clark is going to join us at Faneuil Hall. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  He‘s walking up the set right now.

Our coverage of the Democratic Convention continues in a minute right here on MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to Boston. 

Just to get you up to date on the schedule tonight, Al Gore is going to be speaking to the country at 8:00.  And that is going to be a barn burner, based on his recent performances. 

General Wesley Clark is sitting right with me.  We‘re going to talk to him in just a minute.

But, first, let‘s go down to the convention floor and NBC‘s Carl Quintanilla—Carl.          

QUINTANILLA:  Chris, we are here with Kweisi Mfume of the NAACP. 

Seven conventions in 32 years.

KWEISI MFUME, PRESIDENT, NAACP:  That‘s right. 

QUINTANILLA:  It has been a tumultuous month at best for race relations in this election.  Have you ever seen it this bad? 

MFUME:  Well, I haven‘t. 

And you‘re right.  Since 1980, it has been a while.  And I have been at every one of these conventions.  It‘s sad, in a way.  I think that the current president has missed a lot of opportunities, notwithstanding the fact that there really wasn‘t a lot of outreach from the White House to black organizations for three years prior. 

But here was an opportunity in a campaign year, I think, to take the edge off of that small percentage of the vote that he was getting and to find a way to build on it.  He chose not to do that or he chose a different way to do it.  And I think it was a missed opportunity. 

QUINTANILLA:  Your argument this year is that turnout, although—albeit a cliche when it comes to a lot of black voters, is going to turn on those who are most unlikely to vote. 

MFUME:  Well, the NAACP is registering the unlikely voter. 

Most polls talk about X amount of percentage of likely voters are leaning this way or that way.  We recognize that the bulk of voters are the unlikely ones, the ones that are not voting every year.  So our effort across the country has been to do that, to make sure people are educated.  How they vote is on them, but to make sure they get to the polls to vote. 

QUINTANILLA:  Are you satisfied with the level of political discourse?  Teresa Heinz Kerry told a reporter last night to shove it.  Does that get the convention off on the wrong foot?

MFUME:  Well, I don‘t know.

I was looking in the newspaper the other day where one of Mr. Bush‘s daughters stuck her tongue out at reporters.  So I don‘t know what is going on.  But I‘m not going to do either thing.  And I think it is just a part of the heat and the passion that goes into these elections. 

QUINTANILLA:  Mr. Mfume, enjoy the convention.

MFUME:  Thank you very, very much, sir.  You‘re welcome.   

QUINTANILLA:  Chris, back to you.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Carl. 

He was with NAACP president Kweisi Mfume.

Let me go right now to a real star of American politics, General Wesley Clark. 

You know, when you read the battle plans of the Democrats this week—and I guess you are privy to them—it is all about—even Jimmy Carter, I was looking at his speech plan for tonight.  It is not a peace speech.  It is about what a great warrior that John Kerry is.  Don‘t the Democrats seem more poised to nominate somebody like you than John Kerry, a warrior?

WESLEY CLARK (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I think John Kerry is the right guy to lead this country. 

MATTHEWS:  Better than you?

CLARK:  This is John Kerry‘s time and his moment, of course.

Look, this a man who has done it in war.  He was a commander in war. 

MATTHEWS:  You commanded the Army.  He commanded a boat. 

CLARK:  Wait a minute.  Wait a minute. 

He has done it in war.  He‘s done it in peace. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

CLARK:  He showed physical.  He showed moral courage.  He is four times a United States senator.  He‘s been lieutenant governor of Massachusetts.  You couldn‘t have a better man as candidate for president of the United States at this time than John Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  The Democratic Party as a party—and you know because you ran as one—are dovish on this war in Iraq.  They don‘t like this war in Iraq. 

You have nominated someone who gave the president the authority to go to war, who is running basically as a warrior, a man of peace, but a warrior.  Would the party here be happier with a person who was an out-and-out opponent of the war as their candidate? 

CLARK:  Look, John Kerry

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I told them every night.

CLARK:  John Kerry made his views clear very early.  He said only, only, only as a last resort should you go to war. 

MATTHEWS:  And you believe that?

CLARK:  And I believe that. 

And John Kerry voted...

MATTHEWS:  He didn‘t say that when he voted. 

CLARK:  He did. 

MATTHEWS:  He voted for the president.  He gave him a blank check.

CLARK:  John Kerry voted for the president after he was assured that the president was going to go to the United Nations.

MATTHEWS:  He gave him a blank check.

CLARK:  He was assured the president was going to the United Nations.

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

CLARK:  And the president misled the United States Congress.  That‘s the facts.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Look, General, didn‘t John Kerry put himself in a position which was win-win?  If the war turned out right, having given the president the authority to go to war, he could have been a big hero and said, I gave him the full power.  I‘m totally with him.

If the war turned out kind of messily, like it has, then he could say, I only gave him the authority to go to war.  I didn‘t really think he would go.  Isn‘t that covering your bets?

CLARK:  Chris, John Kerry did what he thought was right for the country.  It has nothing to do with covering bets. 

(CROSSTALK)

CLARK:  When you are a United States senator, you do what is right for the country. 

MATTHEWS:  When you were in this campaign, you stood against this war and you challenged Kerry on his position, right? 

CLARK:  When I was in this campaign, I told the truth to the American people.  So has John Kerry. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.

CLARK:  He and I agreed that force had to be used as a last resort and a last resort only.

MATTHEWS:  The theme of tonight‘s convention—and we are going to hear it President—former President Carter.  I‘m sure we will hear it from the Clintons, both of them, and from Al Gore to some extent—is that this man, John Kerry, will make a great commander in chief in times of peril, right?

CLARK:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  Is not the Democratic Party, according to the Republicans -

·         and I think they got a case here—trying to make over themselves as a moderate, middle-of-the-road party, when in fact most of the people who are out here right now are very much against this war, are very much against this president as being too conservative, that they are in fact ideologically on the other end of the spectrum and now they are trying to pretend they are in the middle? 

CLARK:  Look, the Democratic Party is the country—that can best help assure the safety and security of the United States of America.  And John Kerry is the right guy to be the commander in chief.  It is that simple. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... a right guy, when he is a man of the left?

He has 100 percent—I‘m sorry.  According to “The National Journal,” he has the most liberal voting record in the entire United States Senate.  Now you are trying to sell him as a middle-of-the-roader.  John Edwards, the fourth most liberal voting record in the United States Senate.  Now you‘re all trying to sell him as a moderate.  Which is the truth?

(CROSSTALK)

CLARK:  I‘m telling you that he is the right guy to be the commander in chief. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.

CLARK:  I‘m not trying to sell him as one way or the other on votes in the Senate.  I‘m talking about a man who has moral courage and physical courage.  He has been there.  And that experience is going to inform him every single day when he makes decisions.  We are going to be safer as a nation because John Kerry is in the White House. 

MATTHEWS:  There‘s an angry—there‘s an angry left in this country of people who are very much against this war, very much against the tax policies of the administration, very much against the jobs record, the trade policies.  They like Michael Moore‘s movie “Fahrenheit 9/11,” $100 million in sales.  Why is your party trying to hide those people at this convention, those angry people of the opposition? 

CLARK:  Well, there‘s no effort to hide anybody in this convention.  There‘s a lot of people in this convention that want to see a change in the government.  But this is an election I think that is very polarized.  The American public is very polarized.  And there‘s 15 to 20 percent of the people who are in the middle of this.

MATTHEWS:  Are you for Michael Moore? 

CLARK:  I defended Michael Moore‘s right to call...

MATTHEWS:  Do you agree with him?

CLARK:  To call him—call the president a deserter.  And Michael Moore is a man with courage and convictions and conscience. 

But this election is going to hinge on the people in the middle of the spectrum.  And we are going to have to reach out to Americans, including those who like George and Laura Bush.  And I‘m sure they are fine people.  It is nothing personal as far as I‘m concerned. 

MATTHEWS:  I get it.

CLARK:  This is about what is right for the country.  We need a man who can be the commander in chief.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You are getting to be a very good politician. 

Let me ask you this, to talk to the TV set.  Talk to the TV.  Talk to that tube and tell those middle-of-the-road 20 percent of the people why they should shift from undecided to John Kerry and John Edwards. 

CLARK:  Well, what we need in this country right now is, we need new policies.  We need more care for the armed forces and the people who are in them.  We need stronger intelligence.  We need more capacity to work with our allies.  We are going to have to make more friends and fewer enemies in the world. 

John Kerry, John Edwards are the right people to do it, the right people to keep us safe.  Nothing personal against George Bush.  It is about what is safe for this country.  Look, I spent 38 years in uniform.  I was never partisan.  But I saw what was going wrong in this country before 9/11 and after 9/11.  And I‘m speaking out.  And so are a lot of the veterans across this country. 

We have been there.  We have done it.  We know what we need in a commander in chief.  And we say John Kerry is the man.  It‘s that simple. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Massachusetts is with me here tonight.  You hear Massachusetts. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  These people would have been a lot happier if George McGovern was elected president, a lot happier.  The Democratic Party, when they nominated George McGovern back when you were a Republican back in 1972 were afraid to talk about George McGovern‘s war record in Europe, when he fought as a bomber pilot, when he fought with Tito against Nazism in Yugoslavia, right? 

Are the Democrats coming out of closet now and saying, we are not afraid to say we are a warrior party, as well as a party of peace; we‘re not going to just be peacenik party?  Has it changed, the Democratic Party?

(CROSSTALK)

CLARK:  Democrats have always been people who are fighters and leaders.

(CROSSTALK)

CLARK:  Chris, half the voters in this election were not even alive when George McGovern ran.

MATTHEWS:  But you were and you were voting Republican.  I just want to know, what has changed? 

CLARK:  I think what has changed is this country has changed.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

CLARK:  And we understand this country is at risk.  We need great leaders.  And John Kerry is the kind of leader we need. 

Why?  Because John Kerry has had the experience.  He‘s smart.  He does his homework.  He listens.  He learns.  He‘s going to be able to take this country forward.  And that‘s the kind of leaders we are looking for. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  During the primaries, General Wesley Clark, you proved very successful in winning a big primary in Oklahoma, right?

CLARK:  And I‘m really—Oklahoma is OK. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I think that is from a movie. 

Can you deliver the Sooners?

CLARK:  That‘s what I said.  And I love them. 

MATTHEWS:  Can you deliver the Sooners, a very conservative group of people, to John Kerry and John Edwards? 

CLARK:  Well, we are going to be working Arkansas.  We are going to be working Oklahoma.  We are going to be working the South.  We are going to do everything we can do to get John Kerry and John Edwards in the White House, because America‘s future is at risk. 

MATTHEWS:  Can you deliver Oklahoma? 

CLARK:  We are going to deliver Oklahoma, Arkansas and a lot of other states.

MATTHEWS:  Oklahoma and Arkansas.

CLARK:  And, Chris, I will tell you this.  You are going to be surprised by the outcome of this election. 

MATTHEWS:  You are a Razorback, right? 

CLARK:  John Kerry and John Edwards are going to win an overwhelming victory in this election.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  Let me...

CLARK:  And let me tell you why.  Yes, I know.  Let‘s get off your script for a second. 

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t have a script.

(CROSSTALK)

CLARK:  This is HARDBALL.  And you play HARDBALL with me. 

MATTHEWS:  I haven‘t read a single question.  You read the question I read for you.  I don‘t have a script. 

(CROSSTALK)

CLARK:  Let me tell you something.

MATTHEWS:  Let me tell you something.

CLARK:  Let me tell you something.  George Bush—George Bush...

MATTHEWS:  This is like the third inning the other night. 

CLARK:  George Bush has passed the tipping point. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.

CLARK:  He is no longer going to be given credit by the American people for being a nice guy who was put in a difficult circumstance. 

The American people want competence, character and courage in their president.  And they want competence.  And what they are seeing again and again is incompetent leadership in this administration. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

CLARK:  And that is already—it‘s already over the edge.  Just look at the 9/11 Commission.  There‘s George Bush, who tried to prevent the formation of the 9/11 Commission, who resisted giving it information.  Now he is calling for a special commission to study the results of the 9/11 Commission. 

Why doesn‘t he implement it?  We are in danger today.  His own homeland security director said it.  So what‘s the delay?  What is the more study?  Let‘s get to work.  Let‘s put the security back in place for this country. 

MATTHEWS:  If the purpose of tonight‘s Democratic Convention opening session is to convince the country that John Kerry is a great warrior and would be a great warrior president, defending this country‘s interests against all enemies, why use Bill Clinton to make the case? 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Is Bill Clinton the best case you have got, the best advocate, the best witness you have got for fighting a war, when he obviously did everything he could to avoid doing it? 

CLARK:  Let me tell you something, Chris.  Bill Clinton

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, answer the question.  Why is Bill Clinton the case for a strong commander in chief? 

(CROSSTALK)

CLARK:  Look what he did in Yugoslavia.  He grabbed the problem of Yugoslavia.  It was the toughest problem of our generation.  He brought peace.  He fought a war.  We got through that Kosovo campaign.

MATTHEWS:  And who was his general?  Who was his general? 

CLARK:  Without a single American casualty.

MATTHEWS:  Who was the one leading that fight?

CLARK:  Well, you know who was over there in Europe, but there were a lot of generals. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  No, but

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... credit. 

(CROSSTALK)

CLARK:  Well, thanks a lot.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you. 

CLARK:  I will accept partial credit.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

CLARK:  But I give him the credit to Bill Clinton.  He was the commander in chief.  He knew how to use diplomacy backed by force.  We are talking about John Kerry being somebody who knows when to use force, but he also knows when not to. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you believe Bill Clinton, who is speaking tonight, was a great American president, a great American president? 

CLARK:  Well, look, at the record. 

MATTHEWS:  I want to know. 

CLARK:  Just look at the record, 22 million jobs. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You are speaking on his behalf. 

CLARK:  Twenty-two million jobs.

MATTHEWS:  Was he a great president? 

CLARK:  He brought this country together.  He—under Bill Clinton‘s leadership, we improved the living standard for ordinary Americans for the first time in a generation. 

MATTHEWS:  So he was a great president?

CLARK:  I think he was a great president, absolutely.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you. 

CLARK:  And, furthermore, he‘s a great Arkansan.  And we love him in Arkansas and the South.

MATTHEWS:  Well, we know that one Razorback will be cheering very hard tonight, Hillary Clinton for president.

Is she willing to put aside her ambitions to be president some day to help John Kerry become president and, after that, John Edwards to become president?  Is she willing to step aside for two Democratic presidential candidates?

(CROSSTALK)

CLARK:  Hillary Clinton is a great American and she is going to do everything she can to do what is right for this country.  And that is to put John Kerry and John Edwards in office.

(CROSSTALK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MATTHEWS:  And she will sacrifice her personal ambitions for that? 

CLARK:  You watch Hillary Clinton.  She is tough.  She is smart and she is selfless.  Watch her.

MATTHEWS:  Great.  I love to hear it.

Anyway, thank you, General Wesley Clark, a great American hero. 

Coming up in the next hour, former Vice President Al Gore‘s speech to the convention.  This is going to be a hot one, I think, even with the censorship.  And later tonight, former President Jimmy Carter, my old boss. 

Plus, Hillary Rodham Clinton and William Jefferson Clinton, both speaking tonight.  The Democrats are bringing out the first team tonight.

You are watching HARDBALL‘s coverage of the Democratic National Convention live on MSNBC. 

END   

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